D16 Governors History

Dr Joyce Fildes OAM. (Canberra)

Leading chemical microanalyst and research scientist. Charter President of the Zonta Club of Canberra, Joyce was elected Area III Representative by Australian and New Zealand Zontians at the first Area meeting in Canberra in 1969. She was later appointed Area Observer at the Zonta International Convention in Chicago in 1970 and presented charters to some New Zealand clubs (1972-3).

Cherry Raymond QSO. (Auckland)

Professional communicator, broadcaster, journalist and editor. Charter President of the Zonta Club of Auckland,shewas appointed as the Australasian Regional Representative 1972-74. Cherry lost the vote for Zonta International President by a very small margin at the Wiesba 

Dr Judith Dey AO., District XVI Governor 1974-76.

A leading paediatrician and international expert in intellectual disability and Charter member of the Zonta Club of Sydney. She became District XVI’s first District Governor at the Zonta International Convention in Boston in 1974. Co-Chair of the Sydney International Convention, she served on the Zonta International Nominating Committee 1976-78), the International Resolutions Committee (1978-80), the International Membership and Classifications Committee (1980-82), and the Amelia Earhart Fellowships Awards Committee (1982-90).

Beverley Shore Bennett MBE., District XVI Governor 1976-78.

A portrait artist and leading stained glass designer with over 300 of her windows located throughout New Zealand. She also designed the large altar hanging in Wellington’s Cathedral of St Paul. Beverley became a Lay Canon of the Cathedral and was the only New Zealand woman to be elected a Fellow of the British Society of Glass Artists. Beverley was Charter President of the Zonta Club of Wellington. As well, she served as a member of the Zonta International Public Affairs Committee (1978-80), the International Nominating Committee (1978-80) and was on the Editorial Board of The Zontian.

Elizabeth Todd OAM., District XVI Governor 1978-1980.

Senior Lecturer at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music, Elizabeth taught many successful Australasian operatic singers.  She was Co-Chair & Chair of the Zonta International Nominating Committee (1980-82), and member of the International Service Committee (1980-82), the Long Range Planning Committee (1981-84), and the International Convention Committee (1982-4).

Jeanne Edgar QSM., District XVI Governor 1980-82.

Teacher of hearing impaired children and active in children’s theatre, broadcasting and adult education. Charter member of the Zonta Club of Christchurch-Canterbury. Known for her vitality and good humour as well as for her depth of knowledge about Zonta. She was a Member of the International Convention Planning Committee (1984), International Relations Committee (1976-78), International Long Range Planning Committee (!984-87), International Nominating Committee (1982-84) and Co-Chair of the Membership and Classification Committee (1982-84).

Hon. Leneen Forde AC., District XVI Governor 1982-84.

With numerous achievements in the fields of law, education and social reform, Leneen was the first Australasian Zontian to become Zonta International President (1990-92). She was Queenslander of the Year in 1991 and Queensland’s first female Governor-General (1992-97). She chaired the Commission of Enquiry into Abuse of Children in Institutions (Australia) 1998-99. Served on the International Nominating Committee, was Chair of the Zonta International Committee on the Status of Women (1985) and represented Zonta at the United Nations Conference on Women in Nairobi (1985).

Valerie Webster, District XVI Governor 1984-86.

Chief Librarian to the Hawke’s Bay Hospital Board. Valerie was the first District XVI Governor appointed from a small community rather than a large Australasian city and one of the first four District XVI Area Directors. She initiated the idea of developing a Zonta Rose, first introduced at the Sydney Convention in 1984, and recorded various aspects of District history. Valerie was a member of the International Organisation and Extension Committee, the International Headquarters Building Fund and Vice Chair for Australia, New Zealand and Asia for the Zonta International Foundation Development Committee. She was one of the first 100 Zonta Centurions appointed worldwide (1992-94). She later became District Archivist, encouraging clubs to carefully preserve their historical records.

Val Sarah AM.  DGSJ., District XVI Governor 1986-88.

Skilled communicator with a background in public relations and television presentation and production, Val was Charter President of the Zonta Club of Ballarat (1978-1980). Val’s quarterly District newsletters and emphasis on forward planning reflected her desire to increase Zonta’s professionalism in all areas. She asked all District XVI clubs to produce articles and photos for The Zontian ‘to let the rest of Zonta know we’re alive and creating headlines’. Val was elected Zonta International President for the 1998-2000 biennium. Later she became Co-Chair of the Zonta International Centennial Anniversary Committee and was a member of the Centennial Anniversary Endowment Campaign Committee.

Susan Laidlaw JP., District XVI Governor 1988-1990.

Radio reporter, farmer and administrator.  With her unique trans-Tasman perspective, Susan guided the division of District XVI into smaller Districts at the 1989 Conference in Auckland, ratified at the 1990 International Convention, which included the creation of District 16 New Zealand then with 22 clubs. She served as Co-Chair of the International Z Club Committee, and was member of the International Membership and Classification and the Organisation and Extension Committees. Susan was elected as New Zealand’s first Zonta International Director (1990-92).

Cherry Raymond QSO., First District 16 Governor 1990-92.

Journalist and editor. Charter President of the Zonta Club of Auckland and Regional Representative for Australia and New Zealand (1972-74), Cherry Raymond was frequently consulted for her experience and expertise by both prominent and ‘grassroots’ members. Her articles were frequently published in The Zontian.  Cherry was a member of the International Relations Committee, The Zontian Editorial Board and Chair of the International Status of Women Committee. She was later elected to the International Nominating Committee. The District 16 Cherry Raymond Award, currently presented at each D16 Conference for the best District 16 project, was created to honour Cherry Raymond and her work for Zonta.

 Joan-Mary Longcroft QSM. JP., District 16 Governor 1992-94. 

New Zealand’s first female licensed shipping agent, Joan-Mary also had a long association with SPELD and other community organisations. Charter member of the Zonta Club of Auckland, her home became known as ‘Zonta House’, with many Zontians experiencing her kindness and generosity. She was elected to the Zonta International Foundation Board, serving two terms as International Foundation Director (1994-1999). Joan-Mary promoted international club contacts, growth at International headquarters and the importance of long term planning, with her creativity and energy keeping District 16 well to the forefront of Zonta International’s attention.

Mary Kincaid, District 16 Governor 1994-96.

Special needs teacher, social worker and marriage guidance counsellor. Mary was a Charter member and later President of the Zonta Club of Christchurch South West Area (Now Christchurch South). Mary represented District 16 at the inaugural Zonta International Summit on Violence against Women in Washington DC (June 1996) and served on the International ZISVAW Committee, the International Nominating Committee, was appointed International Liaison for Districts 16, 23 and 24 and as a District 16 Centurion.

Joan Ready, District 16 Governor 1996-98.  

Manager of Auckland University’s Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences Physiology Laboratory. Before becoming District 16 Governor at the St Louis Convention, Joan had considerable Zonta experience as Chair of the District Nominating Committee (1990), as District Chair for Membership and Committees, as District Secretary for Governor Joan-Mary Longcroft and as Lieutenant Governor for Mary Kincaid. Joan also served on the International Archives Sub-Committee (1994-96). Joan compiled a membership database and encouraged a District focus on obtaining new members and nurturing current Zontians, as well as the utilisation of advances in technology.

Jean Corbin Thomas MNZM. JP., District 16 Governor 1998-2000.

Taught English, French and Classics in British and New Zealand secondary schools, as well as tutoring history at Massey University. Jean also served as President and Trustee of the New Horizons for Women Trust (1996-2002) and was President of the UNIFEM New Zealand National Committee.  She was chosen by all other incoming district governors to address the Paris Convention about increasing the length of office for Zontians serving on the International Board. Jean’s District Strategic Plan and Financial Review was a major contribution to District effectiveness and ‘togetherness’. She was appointed as a Zonta International Foundation Ambassador and Literacy Co-ordinator for the International Status of Women Committee (2000-2002), served on the International ZISVAW Committee (2002-2004), as well as the International Bylaws and Resolutions Committee (2004-2006).  Jean also achieved a reputation as ‘Queen Maker’, facilitating the subsequent governorships of Lynn McKenzie, Maxelyn Tudman, and Anne Walker.

Jan Bowman MNZM, District 16 Governor 2000-2002.

Personal secretary to the first five deans of the Auckland School of Medicine. Jan laid the foundations of World Vision in New Zealand and was Chair of both the Missionary Council and Social Services Council of the NZ Baptist Union and of the Baptist Women’s Missionary Fellowship. Jan served two separate terms as President of the Zonta Club of Auckland before her governorship. She became the second District 16 Zontian to be elected as an International Director (2003-2005), making a considerable impression on Zontians worldwide. Nominated as one of only two candidates for Zonta International Vice President in 2004. Jan maximised effective District communication with an extended District website, a new individualised District newsletter and a regular presidents’ update. Jan’s Vision for the Future: Inspired by the Challenge of Change outlined a strategic plan for positioning Zonta as a leading organisation for business and professional women in New Zealand.

Lynn McKenzie ONZM, District 16 Governor 2002-2004.

Experienced in regional planning, human resources and operations management, Lynn has held senior leadership roles in both Government and not for profit organisations. She was Chair of the New Horizons for Women Trust (2001-2004). As Lieutenant Governor, Lynn pioneered a District Membership, Service and Fundraising database to implement Jan Bowman’s District Plan and enhance Zonta’s national credibility and visibility. Lynn’s governorship was characterised by her effective leadership and advocacy for women’s issues, as well as the total dedication of her Board and club leaders. Lynn’s experience and skills resulted in her swift elevation through the ranks of Zonta International, elected as International Director in 2004, Chair of the International Status of Women and Service Committee (2006-2008) and International Vice President in 2008. Lynn became International President and President of the Zonta International Foundation (2012-2014), the highest elected positions in Zonta International ever attained by a member of District 16.  Lynn has also been regional representative on the Zonta International Foundation Centennial Endowment Campaign Committee. (2008-2012).

Maxelyn Tudman, District 16 Governor 2004-2006.

Senior business executive, Maxelyn resolved to ‘Recruit, Retain and Rejuvenate’ District membership, resulting in her attendance at more than 70 club meetings or events during her term of office. Maxelyn arranged a number of sponsorships for District 16 and initiated the use of Maori language in District 16 materials, encouraging clubs to adopt a bicultural emphasis. During her governorship, the internet became the major avenue of International and District communication. Clubs were encouraged to ensure that all projects fitted Zonta’s goal of ‘Advancing the Status of Women’. Maxelyn served on the International Membership Committee (2008-2012) and the International Z and Golden Z Committee (2012-14). She is now a Zonta International individual member.

Lynette Grave, District 16 Governor 2006-2008.

Businesswoman. Lynette is a Charter member of the Zonta Club of Metropolitan Dunedin. Lynette organised the purchase of a special Zonta kakahu, Tohu Aroha, name woven by Ngai Tahu artist, Ranui Ngarimu, and worn by District 16 governors on important occasions. Lynette also initiated the compilation of District 16’s history since 1965 by Christchurch South member, Jennifer Loughton. Lynette was a District 16 Foundation Ambassador for three biennia and has also been a Regional Representative on the Zonta International Foundation Centennial Endowment Campaign Committee, raising considerable sums for Zonta activities.

Anne Walker, District 16 Governor 2008-2010.

Risk Management specialist. Anne served at club level as a board member and as President, becoming Area 2 Director in 2005 and Lieutenant Governor (2006-2008). As Governor, Anne established the new Zonta Club of Mangawhai, as well as providing a four year commitment to the District 16 Project with Endometriosis New Zealand and forming an association with the Heart Foundation’s Go Red for Women health advocacy programme. Anne initiated District 16 involvement with the Sisters Savve project in the Solomon Islands, in association with Family Planning International and the Solomon Islands Planned Parenthood Association, providing health education, life skills, income generation training and micro-credit loans. During Anne’s governorship District 16 presented a submission to New Zealand’s Plan of Action to Prevent People Trafficking and increased District support for the elimination of violence against women. Anne has served Zonta International in a risk management role for several biennia, generously sharing her expertise.  

Anne McMurtrie, District 16 Governor 2010-2012.

Lawyer, Past Chair of the Canterbury Women’s Legal Association and a trustee for the New Horizons for Women Trust. Served as the District Status of Women Chair for three biennia (1994-6, 2000-2002 and 2002-2004).  Anne arranged for Christchurch-Canterbury member, Phillippa Jacobs, to design a new District website. After the Christchurch Earthquake in September 2010, Anne decided that financial assistance offered from all over the Zonta world should be contributed to a fund for Christchurch Women’s Refuges. After the February 2011 Earthquake, the Christchurch District Conference was transferred to Auckland, with exceptional generosity shown by Auckland Zonta clubs. Since completing her term as Governor, Anne has served as the District Jane M Klausman Women in Business Scholarship Chair and as the District 16 Foundation Ambassador. In Torino, Anne was elected to the International Nominating Committee (2012-2014).

Maureen Heine, District 16 Governor 2012-2014.

Financial and business manager and superannuation scheme CEO. Maureen served as District 16 Legislative Awareness and Advocacy Co-ordinator (2006-2008), Area 1 Director (2008-2010) and Chair of the District 16 Organising and Mentoring Committee (2010-2012). As Governor, Maureen increased advocacy initiatives, with written submissions made by District and clubs to Government Select Committees, the Prime Minister, and the Minister of Women’s Affairs on key areas. District 16 also worked with Pacific Women’s Watch New Zealand and the National Council of Women to respond to issues identified in the 2012 CEDAW Report, and, in partnership with Women’s Refuge, was also responsible for the section of the CEDAW Report dealing with gender violence. The ‘Zonta Says No to Violence against Women’ campaign, launched in 2013, was enthusiastically received by New Zealand Zontians with an array of advocacy initiatives, many aligned with White Ribbon Day and UN Women’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence. Maureen acknowledged the special experience of leading District 16 New Zealand while Lynn McKenzie held the office of Zonta International President. Maureen is a past chairman of the Zonta International Leadership Development Committee.

Dr Janette Irvine ONZM, District 16 Governor 2014-2016.   

Medical practitioner with a special interest in women’s and children’s health, Janette has been widely involved in quality assurance and general practitioner assessment for the New Zealand College of GPs. She helped to establish a local service for victims of sexual abuse and was involved nationally with Doctors for Sexual Abuse Care. Janette served as Rotorua Club President, as SOM Committee Chair for the new Zonta club of Tauranga, as Area 4 Director (2010-2012) and as Lieutenant Governor (2012-2014).  During her governorship, Janette developed District 16’s links with the New Zealand Women’s Empowerment Principles’ Committee to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace. During Janette’s biennium, District 16’s support for the Sophie Elliott Foundation gained momentum, with Lesley Elliott named as the Zonta Woman of the Biennium.  Janette was later appointed as a District 16 Centurion.

Janet Hope QSM., District 16 Governor 2016 – 2018.

Janet Hope, a former Police Officer and past Waitemata District Commander, has a distinguished history of service both within and outside of law enforcement. A member of the Zonta Club of East Auckland and a former member of the Zonta Club of Hibiscus Coast, Janet has been deeply involved in Zonta’s global missions. Her contributions to the organisation include roles as a former International Nominating Committee member and as the International Committee Chair for the Young Women in Public Affairs Award. Currently, she serves as the D16 Foundation Ambassador, focusing on enhancing the foundation’s impact and visibility. Janet’s leadership in Zonta exemplifies her commitment to advancing the status of women through service and advocacy.

Souella Cumming, ONZM., DtJ, District 16 Governor 2018 – 2020.

Souella, a partner at KPMG New Zealand specialising in governance, risk management, and assurance services, is deeply involved in public and non-profit sectors. She leads KPMG’s Government Advisory practice and holds significant roles such as being a member of St John New Zealand’s Priory Trust Board and chairing the Audit and Risk Committee. Currently, she serves as the Deputy Chancellor, enhancing St John’s charitable activities and emergency services. A member of the Zonta Club of Wellington since 2006, Souella has served in various capacities including Club President, District Parliamentarian, and Treasurer, as well as Chair of the Zonta International Finance Committee. She is currently the Treasurer/Secretary for both the Zonta International Board and the Zonta Foundation for Women Board, focusing on advancing women’s issues globally.

Desirae Kirby, District 16 Governor 2020 – 2022.

Engineer. Desirae is a member of the Zonta Club of Rotorua and formerly a member of the Zonta Club of Bundaberg in Queensland where she served on the District 24 Board. Desirae is a former District 16 Parliamentarian and Bylaws Committee Chair. She is currently a member of the Zonta International Foundation Development Committee and the D16 UN WEPs representative. 

Phillippa Jacobs-Lory, District 16 Governor 2022-2024.

Phillippa Jacobs-Lory is the Founder and CEO of Pinnacle&Co. Limited, an advertising and web development business in Christchurch since 1997 – present. She has built a thriving company, prioritising a great workplace and exceptional client service. Her mission is to improve businesses with trust and honesty always at the forefront. Phillippa is dedicated to community service, having volunteered as a mentor for Business Mentors New Zealand for over seven years and chaired Business Chicks for since 2004. She also supports students at Yoobee College of Creative Innovation at their Christchurch Campus, giving students confidence when entering into the working world. She is a dedicated member of BNI Business Networking International since 2007, holding many positions. 

Her passion for helping others extends to Zonta International, where she has been a member since 2007. Having served as the President of her club, Christchurch-Canterbury, she has also devoted herself to nurturing the youth of Zonta as the Z Club chair for her club for many years, today she still is on the committee. Her commitment extends to higher positions, as she has held roles like Z Club and Golden Z Club Chair of D16 Board from 2014-2016, Area 3 Director from 2018-2020, and Z Club and Golden Z Club Zonta International Committee member from 2018-2020. She also served as D16 Lieutenant Governor from 2020-2022. She has and served as D16 Governor 2022-2024. Phillippa life is full of the Zonta Spirit (kind) in all she does, inspiring change, kindness and well-being in her community and beyond.